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Reconciliation amid great pain

As only viable institution, church role in Sudan is crucial, peacemaker says

September 26, 2011

The Rev. Peter Tibi

The Rev. Peter Tibi.

Louisville

Eleven international peacemakers from different countries around the world will visit congregations and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 23-Oct. 18.

They will share their stories about church-based ministries in their countries that seek peace justice and pursue peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international peacemakers come from Bangladesh, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and Sudan.

The International Peacemaker program is sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

The Rev. Peter Tibi is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Africa Inland Church-Sudan. He is former general secretary of both the New Sudan Council of Churches and the Sudan Council of Churches and is currently executive director of RECONCILE, which is fostering peace and reconciliation among groups and tribes in the new country of South Sudan.

Tibi will be visiting presbyteries and congregations in Ohio, Nebraska, Georgia and New York.

Q: What is the situation in your country that you will be addressing?

“I will be speaking about peacemaking in three areas: South Sudan, where there are tribal conflicts related to resources, revenge and trauma, and border disputes; North/South Sudan conflicts related to the referendum in some areas; and conflict areas near our borders with other countries. I will talk about how the churches are responding to these traumas ― healing the deep wounds and pain ― and working for reconciliation and co-existence so we can rebuild our communities.”

Q: How are the faith communities addressing this situation?

“We are working with all the churches who are addressing these needs individually. We are also advocating for the cause of the civic populations and with the international community to intervene on such issues as disarmament. The only viable institution right now is the church.”

Q: What lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

“I will be sharing our lessons in reconciliation amid great pain.”

Q: What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

“Because the contexts are different the same tactics may not work, but we share faith and principles of reconciliation that can heal U.S. communities and our country and provide prayer and moral support to each other.”

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